Posted by: natsevs | October 22, 2010

Inverness to Portressie

There were quite a few people up early in the hostel so I woke up fairly early and was on my way before 9. It was actually a really sunny day for a change. I was on road for the start, beginning with a busy A-road then onto a smaller quieter one. When I reached Ardersier I was able to get onto a path along the beachline to Fort George.

A country lane from there took me along the edge of a firing range then through a forest. I was finally in new boots with no holes in and sole in tact. Unfortunately that meant that my feet weren’t used to them and I had a definite blister on my left foot. Added to that one of my legs started to feel like it had a tennis ball in it. Apparently 6 days is too many to have off.

I plugged on slightly slower than earlier and reached Nairn. I got some water and carried on, trying to walk like a normo so that the kids all just out of school didn’t think i was some kind of freak walking down the road. Once through town I went over the river bridge onto the beach before getting to wetland by the forest. It looked an ideal place to camp but the tide line seemed to come right up to the forest edge.

Eventually I had to go into the forest where I met a track and came to a clearing. As I set up the tent there I was welcomed back to Scotland by the midges and they had brought mosquito friends too.

I slept surprisingly well for my first night in a tent for a week. I was bitten a few times as I packed down then set off eating a pasty for breakfast. The forest was massive and I followed tracks through it occasionally going along the edge again.

The blister on my left foot was feeling less painful but unfortunately that made me more aware of the one on the right. I finally got out of the woods at 1230 and continued along a track to get inwards to a road. Along the road was a cycle route to Broom of Moy.

Once over the bridge the way continued on towards Forres. I passed an industrial estate then the distillery there onto small roads out to the estuary. Along the edge of the estuary I was bordered on the other side by RAF Kinloss with it’s runway heading right at the road. Findhorn was quite pretty and once through there I got onto the beach for a 7 mile stretch to Burghead. A painful 7 miles. The beach was rocky which isn’t great for blisters on the soles of your feet.

I found a really good walking stick so picked it up and a minute later my right foot blister felt like it had exploded. What had actually happened is that the fluid had built up so much that it had forced apart the skin around the blister to spread out. Now it really was painful to walk and the stick proved very useful. I got a very welcome phone call from friends who were up at Hopeman and said they would cone and pick me up from Burghead.

As I limped onwards there was a policeman stood on the beach and later some nutty old men were out swimming in the sea. I got to burghead at half 6 and was picked up by Paddy and Philip who had got me a room in the pub they were staying in and looked after me. I had my blisters popped and drained and put on plasters and hoped I would be able to walk in the morning.

My feet felt 100 times better in the morning. For starters, I could actually walk on them. We had a full English at the pub and then Paddy and Philip dropped me back off at Burghead. Once round Burghead the coast trail went along the old railway to Hopeman and the early morning sun had given way to rain unfortunately. Out of hopeman was a quarry that the path skirted but after that it hugged the coast. I started to feel the blisters again but it was more discomfort than pain now.

There was around an hour of beach walking to Lossiemouth and I was already feeling a bit achey and tired. I was craving lucozade so went into the shop just as it started tipping it down with rain. It had let up a bit as I left so I just put on my coat but a minute later it was even heavier than before and the trousers came on too.

On the other side of town you have to go over a bridge to get to the beach. I was then on that or behind it all the way to Kingston, about 8 miles. The rain stopped along there. There was military remnants all along but it was oddly scenic.

I got to Kingston at 4 in another rain shower and met the river Spey along which I headed inland until the bridge. I followed the Speyside way for a bit then went along the old railway to Portgordon where the woods spent really weird. No idea what it was. Really knackered by this point but I had to get to Buckie and out the other side to camp.

Going along the road from portgordon to Buckie, there were seals on the rocks so I stopped for a photo. I got there at 7 and got tomorrows supplies from the supermarket as a really heavy shower started up. It let off a bit in the 40 minutes it took to reach the campsite but got really heavy again just in time to set up my tent in it. My legs were throbbing when I stopped.


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